The latest statement of NPF published by local papers dated 6.10.2019 relating to Naga political negotiations and its solution is found to be more of an appeasement than of a policy of a political party. What usually prompts an individual or a group of individuals to adopt such posture of ambiguity are due to lack of discerning capability for a given issue and mostly due to lack of courage. The lack of courage is the major factor that compels a person to either remain mute on the challenging issue or when one reacts, the posture will be usually the middle path of sycophancy much against one’s own conscience known as appeasement.
After decades of living in uncertainties and having faced oppression and suppression initially in the hands of Indian army and continued to suffer in the hands of specifically those unscrupulous Nagas who are both Naga nationalists as well as civil authorities, we now have a small ray of hope to replenish the pseudo peace with the genuine peace. The so called peace which the Nagas of Nagaland have been living with is the pseudo in which we have no freedom of speech, no business freedom and we have perverse parity. Whereas, the desired genuine peace can be born only by the Solution which is expected to come in this month of October, 2019.
There are exclusive roles to be played by the Naga political negotiators. The basic responsibility of the negotiators is to work out the agenda/competencies and prepare their strategy as to how best they can convince the GOI to appreciate those presentations in the interest of the Nagas as a whole. The other responsibility is how best the negotiators keep the Nagas at home posted with the developments by which the requisite rapport is maintained with the common man.
Whereas, the distinct role of the facilitator (this includes the MLAs, the tribal Hohos, the NGOs, the Church, the GBs and all those who are not the political negotiators) is to act as the bridge between the negotiators and to be the power house of encouragement. To promote the specific political agenda is not the cup of tea for the facilitator. I do not think it is therefore appropriate for the NPF to repeat what the NSCN(IM) has already presented its competencies to GOI in respect of Naga Flag and Constitution. Moreover, a political party, be it regional or national, which is registered in the Election Commission of India (ECI) is expected to behave, talk and act within the parameters of the Indian Constitution. Whereas, any person who files Nomination to contest as a candidate in any election is allowed so when he/she takes oath of allegiance under the Constitution of India. Further, any candidate in the Assembly election when elected takes similar oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India on the floor of the Assembly. A facilitator giving official statement in the language of the negotiator only raises eyebrows for the reason as to whether such person is fighting for cessation.
The MLAs in particular are supposed to know that a sovereign nation is entitled to have a unique national flag which is duly recognised by the rest of the other sovereign nations. A sovereign nation cannot have two national flags. Similarly, a sovereign nation has one written Constitution but not two constitutions. The Art 371(A) is unique and special that was incorporated in the Constitution of India in 1960s which itself proves that any amount of such special provisions can be included in the Constitution of India but not in the form of exclusive constitution.
The Naga political negotiators fought for Naga sovereignty which is cessation from India till they entered into the signing of the Framework by NSCN(IM) under the condition that the GOI has recognized the unique history of the Nagas, and of the ‘Preamble’ by Working Committee of NNPGs under the conditions that the GOI has recognized the historical and the political rights of the Nagas and to self-determine their own future respectively. On the other hand, the Naga negotiators too accepted the contemporary political ground realities that to GOI the Naga sovereignty and the integration are non-negotiable at the moment. Whatever may be the position of the Naga negotiators, they have the liberty to pursue any agenda which they feel it befitting albeit such is tangible or not. And whereas, the facilitator is not as free as those of the negotiators and therefore the former has to walk within the given parameters.
As for the inclusive talk with all NNPGs, there is unanimity. Yet, to bring around the left out group to negotiating table is the primary responsibility of the Nagas. If Adino’s group has refused to be part of the negotiation, it is the birth right of her group to opt out. Has NPF ever negotiated with NNC headed by Adino for the negotiation purpose? By God’s grace, the NTC worked hard to bring 6 NNPGs to a common platform (at later stage NSCN (Khango) group joined the Working Committee) and after having ascertained that the NNPGs were agreeable to have dialogue with GOI if so invited by the latter, the NTC appealed to GOI to invite them for talk and the latter positively responded which is now resulting into a possible solution. Without ascertaining the ground realities, and yet asking the GOI to invite any NNPG sounds immature. It is better that we do not drag Adino’s name around as though the GOI is neglecting her group.
The NPF is right in criticizing the soft paddling of PDA on the issue of CAB during June, 2018 whose decision, I remembered, was not against CAB except when certain clause is found detrimental to Nagaland. However, the PDA recovered from its overconfidence when it took decision along with the tribal Hohos in January, 2019 to oppose the CAB. The GOI is found determined to enact the CAB and we are yet to see how PDA will handle the situation in the near future.
Meanwhile, the local papers dated 9.10.2019 published the appreciation of NPF on the comment of the Union Home Minister Sri. Amit Shah who assured that special provision will be incorporated in the CAB for the 3 States, namely, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh which are equipped with ILP. What I can understand the ramifications of CAB when enacted will be specifically those Hindus from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be welcomed to India and to be granted the citizenship of the country along with the Hindus who have been in India already and yet to be registered as Indian citizens. These Hindus who will be seeking for registration post CAB enactment may not necessarily come to Nagaland or Mizoram or Arunachal Pradesh for registration. Those Hindus will get citizenship registered in more friendly States and flock to North East India as Indians and not as illegal migrants. The ILP law is not against the Indians as whoever Indian is willing to visit Nagaland, the visitor is entitled to 15 days stay in Nagaland. When we inappropriately use BEFR or Art 371(A) against any Indian, the Union Govt. will put the Govt. of Nagaland in the dock. Moreover, look at how secured are our borders with our neighbours, in fact, our borders are most porous and therefore easily accessible with or without our notice.
So long as the NE States, particularly Assam, are free from the menace of illegal people or excess population by which a small State like Nagaland can be flooded by unwanted population, then Nagaland will remain safe. When the other 4 NE States, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam & Tripura, are not given ‘special provision’ when CAB is enacted, Nagaland cannot remain safe with that ‘special provision’, but ultimately face the same fate of the rest of the 4 States in NE. Besides, in both Houses of Parliament, a single MP from Nagaland can hardly draw the attention of other members if not combined with the rest of the MPs from the 7 NE States in respect of CAB.
Meanwhile, the GOI may like to keep the 7 NE States divided so as to prevent us from becoming a formidable force. Whereas, when Nagaland starts appreciating that divide and keep it weakened policy just as NPF has done, we will find ourselves self-trapped ultimately.
As for CAB is concerned, the NPF cannot allow itself to be at loggerhead with NDPP in the name of Opposition party. It is not any other issue but it is the question of our future and survival in the long run. The NPF must not try to politicise CAB rather the NPF and the NDPP in particular have to have one strategy and one voice on CAB. Nagaland must have coordination with the rest of the other 6 NE States and have the common voice against the CAB and for protection of the 7 NE States without over confidence or complacency.